Peyton Manning: Stellar Regular Season Doesn't Guarantee Postseason Success

Shawn Brubaker@@63brubakerContributor IIDecember 23, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 16:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos warms up on the sidelines during the second half of the Broncos game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos are riding high as the best team in football, with Peyton Manning engineering an impressive nine-game winning streak. 

His performance has astounded this year, as he's already accumulated 4,016 yards and 31 touchdowns in just 14 games. He's been so good that many are calling for Manning to win the MVP award.

Now don't get me wrong, Manning has been awesome. He's been the best quarterback in the NFL this season, and he's done it with a new team. Rarely does a quarterback excel so quickly with a new team.

As good as Manning has been, though, he is still the quarterback who has historically struggled in the playoffs. Manning is 9-10 in playoff games, and winning the MVP award has not been indicative of postseason success for the star quarterback.

Manning has won four MVP awards in his career in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009. In those seasons, Manning is 4-4 in the playoffs, including 2008 when his Colts were bounced in their first game.

The only year Manning actually won the Super Bowl, the 2006 season, the Colts did it on the strength of a devastating pass rush, rather than on the back of Manning. In fact, that postseason saw Manning through seven interceptions in just four games.

Of course, this is coincidental and not causal. Winning the MVP does not doom Manning, nor does it guarantee him postseason success. Just don't forget Manning's past performances in the playoffs.

In all, Manning is an average quarterback in the playoffs. His career passer rating in the playoffs is 88.4, compared to a regular-season rating of 95.5 for his career. He's thrown 19 interceptions in 19 total playoff games, and that has resulted in too many early exits for the Colts under Manning.

As great as Manning has been this season, be realistic about the Bronco's chances in the playoffs. A Super Bowl is a realistic ambition, but it will require Manning to be at his best.

We'll see if he still has it in him.